Luna Lovegood tossed restlessly under her bedcovers, unable to sleep and for good reason. How could she sleep after such a night? Breaking in to the Department of Ministries? Facing the same Death Eaters that had, most likely, been responsible for her mother’s death? Seeing Harry’s heartbroken face as he told how Sirius Black had fallen behind the mysterious veil? She let her mind freeze on the moment… the image of Harry’s distraught face burned deeply into her mind as she wondered exactly what their relationship was. Obviously Harry cared for the former Azkaban prisoner deeply. Was he really Stubby Boardman, former lead singer of the Hobgoblins? She hoped her turnip earrings hadn’t offended the man, it was a turnip attack, after all, that had ended his professional career in music, and she would hate to have reminded him of such painful memories just before he died. Hadn’t someone said he was Harry’s godfather?
Luna tried to remember but the myriad of voices from the battle were an indecipherable jumble. She wondered if she should go to Harry, to assure him that there was a world beyond the veil, that he would, someday, see Sirius Black again. But, then again, no one ever believed her, why should Harry Potter be any different?
Struggling out of bed and pulling on a woolen dressing gown, she tucked her wand behind her ear and quietly slipped down the stairs and into the darkened hallway, leaving Ravenclaw Tower before her housemates began complaining she was making too much noise. Normally one to remain out of sight, Luna was surprised at herself for sneaking around Hogwarts after hours. Her newly found courage, she assumed, was the result of her recently acquired friends. Harry, Hermione and Ron were, after all, the trio most known for finding new and exciting ways to break the rules.
She stopped in her tracks and sucked in a breath…friends. It wasn’t a word she had really ever used for the people she’d met at Hogwarts. She had seen and heard too many things in her life to allow herself to succumb to the ideas of others and, in retrospect, had learned this made making friends somewhat difficult. She wasn’t worried, of course, because she knew that eventually they would learn to believe in the things she did and then she could smile her dreamy smile and patiently help them understand the many mysteries that made life interesting.
Standing alone in the darkness, Luna fondled the ornaments on her dressing gown. She had collected each one… a petrified frog from a swamp in Ireland; a plastic thestral from a gift shop in London; a piece of mummy cloth from Egypt that she had embellished with her own drawings of Hagrid’s blast-ended skrewts. Each held a memory for her and, as she touched each one, a tingle of excitement rushed through her because of the many wondrous things she had seen. Her mind drifted to her newly acquired badge, Luna Lovegood – Rescue Mission, tucked safely into a knobby pair of socks in a drawer in her room. It would soon become the newest ornament on her robe… a tangible link to a memory that would loosely tether her to reality. That is, if none of her housemates decided to steal her socks as a prank, first. If they did, it was no matter. They usually returned her things . . . eventually.
Luna blinked for the first time since leaving her room. Where was she going, again? Oh, yes, to see her new friend Harry Potter. Friend. She savored the sound of the unfamiliar word, each letter a precious gift. Apart from Ginny, the members of the Golden Trio were the first real friends she had made in her four years at Hogwarts, and no matter what happened now, she would always have her new, hard-earned badge as proof that she had once had friends and been a part of something, even if it only had lasted for a brief moment.
Though she did suspect that their experience in the Ministry had now left them permanently bonded, something that even went beyond friendship. It wasn’t, according to
Ginny anyway, the first strike against You-Know-Who in this Second War, but it marked the beginning of something. Surely The Ministry of Magic could no longer deny His return any longer, couldn’t just pawn the blame onto Harry or Dumbledore; explain it away with cunning lies. This was something that she had rarely encountered in her search for truths untold and mysteries unsolved: proof. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was back.
Tiptoeing through the passageway again, she tried to figure out exactly how she could ease his worries and comfort his pain without scaring him away. Her normally wistful expression clouded as she tried to concentrate on the matter at hand. How could you explain a mystery, something she had always accepted on faith? A hard lump began to grow in her stomach and without warning, the memories came flooding back.
Standing in a small clearing, the thestrals had stood silently, eyes glowing and flowing dark manes whipped by the wind, as they had watched the youngsters bickering about the logistics of this rescue mission.
“More of them will come,” Ginny had pointed out smugly, “You’re both covered in blood and the smell will lure them.” And she had been right, more thestrals had come, unable to resist the scent of fresh blood, and a most fantastic thing had happened – they had actually flown all the way to London, perched precariously on the magnificent leathery skinned creatures, flying faster than anyone had ever flown before and Luna had laughed as she felt the wind in her hair, high above the tiny villages, for she was not alone.
Fingering the plastic thestral pinned to her dressing gown, she smiled. The thestrals had been her idea and she had felt so proud when Harry had embraced her idea so readily. It wasn’t often that others listened to her ideas and took her seriously, but it wasn’t really her fault if they lacked the faith to believe in things like Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, was it?
The veil shimmered and fluttered gently, undulating in a non-existent, cold breeze.
“What is it?” Harry’s voice was thick with nervous tension. “Sirius? Are you there? Hello? What are you saying, I can’t hear you!”
“Harry!” hissed Hermione. “Have you gone mad? There’s nobody there.” But the whispered murmurs grew louder and more insistent and the veil continued to flutter, beckoning seductively, like a siren calling a sailor.
She had heard the voices too, people calling from the other side of the veil, but she doubted if Hermione would ever believe them. Luna knew instinctively that she and Hermione would never be close, Hermione was too rationally minded and obsessed with proof and truth and knowledge which could only be found in books. It was her loss, there were a great many things to be learned that could not be found in books or libraries.
Dark shapes materialized all around them and suddenly they were surrounded by a ring of black cloaks – Death Eaters. There was no escape: the Death Eaters were blocking all possible escape routes and they were severely outnumbered, and they still hadn’t found Sirius Black or Stubby Boardman.
“Tell me where Sirius is!”
“Potter, give the prophecy to me!”
None of this made any sense to her at all, but she knew it was a part of something important, a tiny piece of a bigger puzzle. Whatever this prophecy was, Harry didn’t want the Death Eaters to have it, and Harry was her friend and one of the few who had ever shown any faith in her, so she would fight to the end for him, even if she didn’t know why. Idly, she hummed a chorus of ‘Weasley is Our King,’ as she glanced around the room, wondering what on earth they would do now. It would be dreadful to die before she found a Crumple-Horned Snorkack.
“NOW!” Harry yelled, and a barrage of curses flew through the air. The shelves had teetered dangerously as hundreds of glowing glass spheres had come crashing to the floor and slivers of broken glass had rained upon them. “RUN!” Harry had bellowed, and she had sprinted past him, followed closely by Ron and Ginny, covering her face with her arms to protect it from the flying shards of glass.
She still didn’t know exactly what had happened, but that didn’t seem to matter much, now. Perhaps the reason she had been there was so that someone who had been there would be able to comfort Harry. She was sure he would explain everything, in good time. Things had a way of making sense in the end, if she was patient enough, she had learned.
She flung open yet another door, desperate to find Harry and Hermione. There were a half dozen Death Eaters on their trail and Ron had become completely useless, his eyes glazed over as he babbled about Uranus. Ginny wasn’t in much better shape. She still had control of her mental facilities, but a hex had hit her directly on the ankle and Luna was certain she had heard the bones snap.
Naturally, Harry had rushed towards Ron and Ginny, hardly sparing a glance for her, but she didn’t mind terribly much. After all, he had known them for several years and she was somewhat of an afterthought, even if she was the only one who had managed to avoid being injured so far.
“Over there!” cackled a fearsome woman with dark hair and sinister looking eyes. “Get them!” Dozens of spells barraged them – stunners, from the sound of it and they barely squeezed into the next room in the nick of time, slamming the door in the face of that funny dark haired witch with the nasty voice. She looked around curiously. The room was filled with brains, floating in greasy jars of dark green fluid. They were probably part of some top-secret Ministry breeding program, splicing the genes of aquavirus maggots with flobberworms. She made a mental note to pass this bit of information on to her father.
“In here! WE’VE GOT THEM!” shouted another Death Eater, and she and Neville began bewitching the doors in a panicked frenzy. She was just about to seal the second to last door when suddenly it was flung open and she was knocked onto the floor by five Death Eaters who had charged into the room.
“There he is! Get Potter” shrieked that awful witch again, and then her world slowly faded to black.
She reached up and rubbed the bump on the back of her head, which still throbbed occasionally. She had been lucky, Madam Pomfrey had said, she could have broken her neck. She knew she had missed a great many important events while she was unconscious – some fantastic tale about Ron being attacked by a mutant, flying tentacled brain. And he thought her stories were far-fetched! Dumbledore had shown up too, and Professors Moody and Lupin, and a woman and the man she later learned had been Sirius Black. Ginny had filled her in on some of the details, about Harry had actually tried to use an Unforgivable Curse and how Dumbledore had battled He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and nearly destroyed the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic in the process, levitating and imploding statues all over the place.
Her head still ached, despite the vile potions Pomfrey had forced upon her, but she found she didn’t particularly care. It was a minor inconvenience, really, especially compared to the state the others were in. Poor Ginny had been dosed with Skele-Gro and was in for a very rough night, as the shattered bones in her ankle mended, and Ron was absolutely covered with hideous looking welts. Really, she had gotten off quite lightly, with only a minor concussion and a bit of a headache, while her friends all had to spend the night in the hospital wing for observation, even Neville, whose nose had been easily mended. Friends. There was that nice word again. She hugged her body with her arms and whispered the word again. Friends.
She smiled dreamily and took off, escaping into the crisp night air. As a first year she had been very curious about some of the ‘secrets’ that Hogwarts had held, she’d found nothing substantial, but the passages did come in handy.
She liked the way that the breeze has to move out her way, get around her and she fills in the space left behind; no longer separated from it by brick and mortar, just flesh and a few layers of clothing. The ground was damp beneath her feet, and her Hippogriff slippers were already sodden, they yelped and complained at the discomfort, but she didn’t mind them.
Her mother used to say that all things were connected in ways that could not be seen, that the answers were there if people just opened their minds to the possibilities. She found it much easier to think in an open space like this, with no walls or floors or anything to separate her from the elements. Her mind was less clouded out here, she felt as though she was just another object floating in space. Free of context, she almost feels a little more lucid.
The wind blew around her, whispering to her, she could feel her hair tangling around her wand. Softly singing a chorus of ‘Weasley is Our King’ she slid it out, careful not to pull. She toyed with it absently and looked up at the stars; they glittered with a fierce intensity tonight: tiny pinpricks burning holes in the sky. Her eyes traveled to the Dog Star. She wondered if Harry would be find comfort in it, or would he shun anything that might stir a memory.
She sighed and sat down, propping herself up against the wall of the castle. People were strange, each a series of mysteries and contradictions, it would be impossible to discover all of their secrets, but nowadays it’s so easy to understand them. Everyone follows patterns, set behaviors, they all accept things so easily and deny others so readily. She long ago learned to be suspicious of a mass produced ‘truth’. Chances are, if everyone believes the one thing, then it isn’t true, the words have passed through too many mouths and onto to too many pages. It wasn’t fair that words couldn’t defend themselves against whatever slights mankind will put upon them, they all get such bad reputations.
Her father had sought to protect them, he Knew Things and thought it most unjust that no-one else knew as he did.
No-one could deny Harry’s words anymore, they couldn’t substitute their own truth for the actual one anymore. Tangible. So real she could touch it, and the thought excited her. Everything had changed now, the Wizarding world was united in consciousness, all following the new direction of the wind.
She performs a quick Warming Charm and leans against the wall; it invites her to close her eyes: she is safe here and not alone, that castle will protect her. She knows that in the morning when she wakes up, all of her things will have been squirreled away by her Housemates, instead of wafting around the castle, going to all the places that they hide her things (following patterns), she will make a list and save herself the time, she will use that time to find Harry and offer him whatever comfort she can. But for now, she sleeps and dreams of reality.
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